East Coast surfers have a complicated relationship with Hurricanes. At a safe distance they're incredible wave generators, and a distant storm can light up their local lineups for days. Some will start chasing swell in the Caribbean and chase waves up the entire East Coast as the storm moves north. But while surfers in the Northeast might be taking advantage of this one, their Florida friends won't be joining them, as they're too busy bracing for impact. The size and scope of Irma is one that hasn't been seen for more than 100 years, and it's not one to mess with. And Hurricane Jose is right behind it.
Former Championship Tour star Shea Lopez is one of them. "Irma is not the hurricane to put your loved ones at risk over," he posted on his Instagram account on Thursday. "Grab what you need and leave if you can. If you can't #besafe #bestrong."
Lopez took his family all the way over to Pensacola, Florida, which is in the panhandle just east of Alabama. Even there, with the size, scope and path of Irma, the weather is expected to get harsh.
Damien Hobgood was one who echoed Shea's post: "Shea Knows. Get out of dodge."
Surfers from the region are also trying to raise awareness of the dire situation for their neighboring islands that aren't in the headlines. Remote regions in the British Virgin Islands have already been destroyed, and are now bracing for Hurricane Jose. According to many with contacts there, the situation is desperate.
Photographer Ben Gulliver is one who's trying to stay in close contact with friends and relatives in the region. He posted the following on his Instagram account.
Displaced East coasters are doing the same, thinking of friends and family back home. Many are feeling hopeless as all they can do is stay glued to the Weather Channel.